LIFE IMPRISONMENT – CONVICTION MUST QUOTE SUBSECTION THAT AUTHORIZES SENTENCE

Ndlovu v The State [2017] ZACC 19

 

[46] In the light of this, I can do nought but conclude, inexorably, that the Regional Court did not have jurisdiction to impose life imprisonment in terms of section 51(1) of the Minimum Sentencing Act. Mr Ndlovu was convicted of rape, read with section 51(2); accordingly, the Regional Court was required in terms of section 51(2) to impose a minimum sentence of 10 years (as he was treated as a first offender).31 The Regional Court’s jurisdiction was limited in terms of section 51(2) to imposing a maximum sentence of 15 years.32

[47] In the result, because the Regional Court did not have jurisdiction to sentence Mr Ndlovu in terms of section 51(1), his application must succeed. In the circumstances, it is unnecessary to consider the fair trial question.

 

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